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June 20, 2009

I’ve been teaching photography workshops for exactly 18 months now. During that time, so many things have happened that I couldn’t possibly have anticipated, much less planned. Our one measly topic mushroomed to a dozen (with eight more in development), I’ve written two books (with two more in development and three others planned), I started two web sites and I’m working on producing a line of videos.

I know that I’m bringing value into the world because my reputation grows, often on the basis of actions having nothing to do with me. Those are the things that are both most stunning and most satisfying to me. I’ve had half a dozen program coordinators call me, saying they’d heard about our programs from someone else and asking if I’d be interested in doing a program at their venue. That’s always satisfying. (And I have yet to turn such an offer down.)

My first really huge shock came when I was contacted out of the blue by someone who had attended one of my library workshops. At the time, she was just a nameless face in the audience. I vaguely recall speaking with her after the workshop but don’t remember anything notable about the conversation. Several weeks later, she contacted me and reminded me of our meeting. She explained her occupation and that she worked in an office with a small staff, all of whom had occasional responsibilities for doing “official” photography but none of whom had any special skills or training. She asked if I would be willing to put together a special training workshop tailored specifically to their needs. That opened the door to a whole new line of offerings.

Then there was another woman who’d attended one of my workshops. Several months went by and, all of a sudden, she contacted me out of the blue. She works in county government and is helping to organize a conference. They are looking for speakers and she’d remembered my workshop. So she contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in being a presenter at their conference.

Luck really does favor the prepared.

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